New findings in psychology and neuroscience are pushing philosophers to rethink such big questions as the relationship between mind and body, the meaning of free will, just exactly what faith is, the nature of consciousness, and what constitutes happiness. There's some evidence that issues such as free will itself reflect temperament and personality. There's even more evidence that we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy, which is why we have such a hard time finding durable happiness.

Recent Posts on Philosophy

The Meaning of Life

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 26, 2015 Fighting Fear
Description of the Discovery of the Meaning of Life! Including from the perspective of a frog

Watching Star Wars the Right Way

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 Plato on Pop
In what order should you watch the original saga? Release order? Episode order? Or an entirely different order altogether? And what all should you catch up on? The Clone Wars cartoon? The Zahn Novels (a.k.a. The Thrawn Trilogy)? The Holiday Special? What counts as canon?

Income Inequality, Fairness, and Envy

By William Irwin Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 It’s Your Choice
Life does not guarantee approximate equality of outcomes, and the demand for such equality in the name of fairness is grounded in envy and resentment. You can change your frame of reference to turn envy into gratitude.

Who Would Jesus Stone?

By Rebecca Coffey on November 20, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Classic nonviolence is far from passive. It is smartly aggressive. To get under their oppressors’ skin, civil rights and social reform leaders have had to be psychologically astute. (“What will get their goats them this time?”). And, apparently, thinking that way works. A growing body of research suggests that nonviolence is more effective than violence.

Pills and Talk

Is a pill enough to achieve mental restoration?

What Does "Agnostic" Mean?

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 The Secular Life
There are some things we just may never know. Deal with it.

Is There Pure Good?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 How To Do Life
I thought I had identified 10, but on reflection, I had to settle for 4.

A Gourmand’s Guide to the Passionate Life

Making sense of the emotions with psychiatrist, writer, and drink-maker Neel Burton in his Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions (Acheron Press: 2015)

Consciousness and Memory

The role of memory in consciousness is often taken for granted. Without the brain's various memory systems it would be unlikely that conscious experience would even occur. Consciousness not only relies on working memory to maintain perceptual and other information but also on long-term memory to enrich our present experience with information from the past.

Why It's Great to Ask 'What If' (Except When It Isn't)

Imagining how we could act can be simultaneously terrifying and liberating

Sexual Equality: Are You in the 1 Percent or the 99 Percent?

Everyone wants to have more or better sex, but some people find it easier than others. What's more, this is not often based on merit or virtue, but instead on factors such as looks and status, which are based largely on luck. Should we be more worried about this type of "sexual inequality"? Let's ask philosopher Patricia Marino to help us sort through these issues.

Replication Problems in Psychology

By Jeremy D. Safran Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 Straight Talk
A major research study recently found that many well known findings in psychology are difficult to replicate.This study and the media attention it has received have led to a considerable stir within the field. While some minimize the importance of these findings, they do rekindle longstanding debates about what kind of 'science' psychology is.

'Located in the Posterior Cingulate Cortex'

In presenting scholarly information, it turns out that including highly technical, neuroscientific terms makes your argument more convincing—even when your reasoning is all fluff. This fact can be used for good or for evil. I say we use this information as a tool to help cultivate critical thinking skills in developing young minds.

Why Try to Change Me Now?

It is commonly assumed that we love someone even though we know his flaws—as love is essentially not about the partner’s characteristics, but about the lover’s attitude. Accordingly, it is not fruitful to try to change the partner’s characteristics; it is the lover’s attitude that needs to change. There is some grain of truth in this view, but the story is more complex.

Co-opting and Redefining Religious Words by the Nonreligious

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 Cui Bono
Philosophical naturalism denies the existence of supernatural entities such as angels, demons, elves, fairies, ghosts, gods, souls, and spirits, except as figments of imagination. How is it possible, then, that some naturalists describe themselves as "spiritual" and describe some aspects of nature as "sacred?"

The War on Christmas, Reindeerless Santas and Plain Red Cups

The conservatives might have a point about the "War on Christmas"—it’s just not the point they are trying to make.

A Medical Futurist Discusses Health and Transhumanism

Dr. Bertalan Mesko kept receiving amazing questions about the future of medicine. He decided to write them down to better understand the general public’s interest in health technology and innovation. The result is his new book: My Health: Upgraded. I caught up with him recently to ask about the future of health and transhumanism.

Dissociation and Psychosis

Psychosis, a state of implicit trauma, is characterized by the symptom of dissociation from reality by the psychotic individual. This withdrawal involves derealization, or the sense that the world is not real, and depersonalization, or a sense that the self is not real. Using the Eriksonian paradigm for therapeutic treatment of schizophrenics may be a promising.

Do Our Selves Always Travel With Us?

The mystery of the brain. Why is our self always with us?

Are You Passionate or Intolerant in Your Beliefs?

None of us like to be preached at. How can we tell if we're open to others or simply speaking to ourselves?

Older Adults Care More

By Mario D Garrett PhD on October 31, 2015 iAge
Two main thoughts in modern history: Freud's psychoanalytic theory and Heidegger's philosophy of being both hinge on the concept of death. why is death necessary to explain living?

Recent Science Supporting "Why We Dance"

Today I begin a new series of posts dedicated to sharing recently published scientific experiments that support the philosophy of bodily becoming I develop in my book "Why We Dance."

Why is it Easier to Organize Evil than Good?

Pouring new wine in old bottles

Would You Like Lies With That?

By Robert J King Ph.D. on October 30, 2015 Hive Mind
Underlying much of the anti-science talk is a fear that if we admit that we are “just another critter,” then all will be lost.

Moving From the Biopsychosocial Model to the ToK System

This blog explains how the ToK System advances the standard biopsychosocial conception.

One Woman’s Suicide Reignites Right-to-Die Debate

Assisted suicide relieves unmanageable suffering for some

Cancer Is My Teacher, Part 3

By Lucy O'Donnell on October 28, 2015 Cancer Is a Teacher
Sometimes it can feel so surreal when you are coping with cancer and hard to deal with all the small things that when compounded have a profound effect on our everyday life. Here, through my experience, I tell of how I navigated through these feelings and situations. To this day, almost 4 years from diagnosis I still find myself in similar situations.

The Paradoxes of Our Time

We live in a paradoxical age marked by enormous technological achievement and deep existential confusion.

Art Therapy in Prison—Now That’s Sexy!

Recounting a time when a colleague described art therapy in prison as "sexy", this post explores what it is that attracts the public to prison art and how such fascination can be used to break down the barriers that exist for the inmate population.

Neuroscientific Prediction and Free Will

By Gregg D. Caruso Ph.D. on October 26, 2015 Unjust Deserts
Is free will compatible with the perfect neuroscientific prediction of all human choices?